Friday, March 27, 2009

Dealing With Relatives Who Backbite

Dealing With Relatives Who Backbite

By Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

I have recently started to make a conscious effort to become a good practicing Muslim. Beyond the basics tenants of faith I have also started to read about and gain knowledge about Islām. Keeping ties with relatives is good practice in Islam. To gain the pleasures of Allāh (SWT) I am making a conscious effort to meet them whom previously I used to avoid. It seems though the more I and my family mix with relatives the more they talk behind our backs and spread baseless slanderous remarks. This is very hurtful and it takes a lot of patience to ignore and be indifferent to people with such habits. What would be the correct way to deal with such relatives? Previously i would have confronted such people with anger, but now i know nothing will be gained only bad feelings and anger. Should I leave such people for Allāh to deal with? Please advise me which duās can i recite to increase my patience?

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

The attribute of patience is indeed a high status with which Allāh blesses whomsoever He wills among His slaves, to make it easy for them to obey His commands and heed His prohibitions.

Your attempts to bring people together and to get closer to your relatives are a praiseworthy effort which points to your success and correct thinking.

For many people, if they are faced with even a part of what you have suffered, quickly lose patience and respond to cutting off of ties in like manner, because they think that upholding family ties is only obligatory when relatives respond in the same manner. This is a mistaken notion and the fact that it is mistaken is indicated by the hadith which was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (radiallāhu`anhu), which says that a man said:

“O Messenger of Allāh, I have relatives with whom I uphold the ties of kinship but they cut me off; I treat them well but they mistreat me; I am patient with them but they treat me in an ignorant manner.” The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam)  said: “If it is as you say, then it is as if you are stuffing hot ashes [in their mouths], and you will have with you [an angel] from Allāh to support you against them so long as you continue to be like that.”

 [Narrated by Muslim, 2285]

In this hadith, a man came to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) complaining of his relatives’ bad treatment of him, and in his complaint he mentioned something similar to what you have mentioned: he upheld the ties of kinship but they cut him off, he treated them well but they treated him badly. Yet despite that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam)  told him that if he was telling the truth, then his situation with them would be like one fills their mouths with ashes, so he is the one who is doing the right thing, and he would continue to have support from Allāh against them. The general meaning of the hadith is to encourage the upholding of family ties even with those who does not themselves uphold those ties. Praise be to Allāh that this is what you have done and have forced yourself to do. I hope Allāh to help you to do that which is good.

After that there is nothing more that you can do except to follow one good deed with another, one kind action with another. If they mistreat you then do to them the opposite of that which they have done to you.

You should note that when you do that, you are doing it only to earn the pleasure and mercy of Allāh. Do not expect any response to your good deed from them. But try not to tell people what they are doing to you. If you think that one of the causes of this problem is too much contact with them, there is nothing wrong with your reducing your visits with them.

Pray to Allāh to guide them; pray to Him when you are certain of a response, for Allāh is Able to turn their hatred into love and their neglect into close ties.

With regard to your question about duā’ that will help you to be patient when faced with difficulties, there is many such duā, and we will tell you some of them here:

Firstly: It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbās (radiallāhu`anhu) said:

“When faced with difficulties the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) would say: ‘Lā ilāha ill-Allāh al-‘Azīm al-Halīm, lā ilāha ill-Allāh Rabb il-‘Arsh il-‘Azīm, lā ilāha ill-Allāh Rabb ul-samawāti wa Rabb ul-‘Arsh il-Karīm -- (There is no god except Allāh, the Almighty, the Forbearing; there is no god except Allāh the Lord of the Mighty Throne; there is no god except Allāh, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the noble Throne).’”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 7426]

According to a report narrated by Muslim: “When the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was concerned about an important matter or when he was worried…” [Muslim, 2130]

Secondly: It was narrated that Anas (radiallāhu`anhu) said:

“When the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was distressed by something, he would say, ‘Yā Hayyu, Yā Qayyūm, bi rahmatika astaghīth -- (O Ever-Living, O Eternal One, by Your mercy I seek help).’”

[ Narrated by al-Tirmidzi, 3524); classified as sahih ]

We also want to tell you of something important which will help you to be more patient and will give you certain faith in Allāh, especially when you are upset and worried. This is something which many people neglect it. Do you know what it is?

It is prayer, for prayer has a great effect in bringing peace to the heart and in dispelling worries and distress. It is one of the greatest means of being patient. This is indicated by the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Allāh says:

“And seek help in patience and As-Salāh (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khāshi‘ūn [i.e. the true believers in Allāh — those who obey Allāh with full submission, fear much from His punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)]”

[Al-Baqarah, 2:45]

Prayer is the greatest thing by means of which help may be sought.

And Allāh says:

“Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death)”

 [Al-Hijr, 15:97-99]

Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari said in his Tafsir: “‘So glorify the praises of your Lord’: with regard to matters which are worrying you, turn to Allāh and give thank to Allāh and praise Him, and pray, and Allāh will take care of that which is troubling you. This is similar to the hadith narrated from the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam): ‘When something troubled him, he would turn to prayer.’” (7/553)

Finally I ask Allāh the Almighty, the Lord of the Mighty Throne, to bless us with Right Path.

And Allāh knows best.
[ Via Islam Q&A]

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